World War II veteran Andrew Haines decided years ago that he wanted a Norse-inspired funeral upon his death, and the U.S. Coast Guard obliged.
Mr. Haines, who emigrated from Norway in 1927, scaled down blueprints for a 100-foot ship to a few feet in the years before he died. It was then up to the Coast Guard to decide whether it would ignite the boat and send-off Mr. Haines’ cremated remains in accordance with his wishes.
“Oh, I was thrilled,” Mr. Haines’ son Andy told Navy Times on Thursday. “I was thrilled when the Coast Guard called and told me we were doing it [his] way.”
The veteran died Aug. 26 at age 89 of natural causes, and on Sept. 29 his plans were realized at Station Atlantic City, New Jersey, where he finished his last tour.
“Burial at sea is not that uncommon. We probably do about seven a year just at Atlantic City,” Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class Christopher Fonseca, Atlantic City’s operations officer, told Navy Times. He added that he had never conducted a burial quite like the one Mr. Haines had in mind.